Britain's Fattest Teenager
18 Years Old and 32 Stones
Childhood obesity in England has doubled over the past ten years and 1 in 4 children are now deemed to be clinically obese. Jonathan Wallace's eating habits have been spiralling out-of-control for years. Still in his teens, he is 14 stones overweight.
Jonathan is not considered to be clinically obese, he is deemed to be morbidly obese. Jonathan and his family live in Hartlepool, an area in North East England where obesity rates are above the national average. Jonathan's health is badly affected by his weight problem. He has torn ligaments in his legs on a number of occasions, his knee and ankle joints are becoming prematurely worn, and he suffers from sleep apnoea.
Jonathan is dyslexic and has trouble reading and writing. This has not helped his employment chances and he has been unemployed since he left school. Because of this he is able to stay at home and eat, sometimes in excess of six meals a day.
Last year, Jonathan's mother Margaret made a very public cry for help. She arranged to appear, with Jonathan, on the Trisha Goddard Show in the hope that this would make Jonathan aware of just how much he was risking his life.
Jonathan appearing on The Trisha Goddard Show
It was his doctor that finally brought the message home. The excessive weight and the sleeps apnoea are putting a great strain on his heart, and his doctor has given him five years to live if he doesn't address his weight problem.
This has shocked Jonathan into seeking help. He now wants to have invasive surgery to bypass his stomach and reduce his calorie intake. The gastric bypass procedure effectively reduces the size of the stomach by bypassing food through part of the small intestine. This results in less food being absorbed by the body.
The Bypassed Stomach
There are two options open to Jonathan. The first is keyhole surgery which will require Jonathan to lose 3 stone before the operation could take place. The second is open surgery which is a riskier procedure and would leave Jonathan with 50 staples in his stomach.
Despite his decision to undergo surgery, Jonathan makes no attempt to change his routine. A typical Saturday night's clubbing will see him drink a half bottle of vodka and 10 pints of beer. With the impending surgery, he should not be drinking at all.
In hospital being prepared for the operation, Jonathan is given a light supper, but this doesn't appeal to him so, instead, he gorges himself on cakes and chocolate bars.
Three days after the operation Jonathan returns home. He is expected to eat only five teaspoons of food per day. The equivalent of 500 calories. His stomach wil not tolerate a greater volume. Jonathan's obsession with food is deep-rooted and it doesn't take long before he is regretting having the operation.
2 month's later he returns to hospital for a consultation. He is still craving food, but he has lost five stone.